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Bengals Bytes (5/21): Dre Kirkpatrick is buying in to new defense

Dre Kirkpatrick is now the longest tenured corner for the Bengals, and he is excited for the changes coming on defense.

Cincinnati Bengals v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images

Dre Kirkpatrick sounds ready to embrace Teryl Austin’s plan for Bengals defense
Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is one of a handful of defenders to praise new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. Austin comes over and takes the place of Paul Guenther this year. One of his biggest tasks if figuring out the secondary, where he has to incorporate more William Jackson and — perhaps most importantly — break a big-money corner like Kirkpatrick out of a slump.

William Jackson on Bengals having top secondary
The Cincinnati Bengals have a dynamic group of cornerbacks walking into the 2018 season. With William Jackson III and Darqueze Dennard having breakout seasons last year and Dre Kirkpatrick coming into the season healthy and ready to go, it could be an electric season for the secondary. There’s also the new addition of second-round pick safety Jessie Bates to add to the safety group. New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin has plenty to work with on the back half of the defense going into the season.

Bengals to continue developing star edge rushers
The Cincinnati Bengals have worked hard to bring in and develop young pass rushers the last couple offseasons, and it has paid off. While quarterback is the most critical position on a team, pass rusher is arguably the second most important. Putting consistent pressure on quarterbacks forcing them to make bad decisions or mess up the timing of the play is hard to do in today’s NFL. If a team can consistently get pressure, it makes the whole defense better.

Who Will Be the Bengals' Most Improved Player in 2018?
When looking at the Bengals for next season, we’ve discussed the offseason additions and losses pretty thoroughly. However, if the Bengals hope to make the playoffs, that push isn’t going to come solely from the offseason acquisitions. There will have to be internal development and growth among the players already on the roster.

Are we overlooking Chris Baker’s potential impact on Bengals?
It’s easy to forget a guy like Chris Baker when it comes to the Cincinnati Bengals. Baker’s addition was something of an afterthought after the Bengals got aggressive and traded for Cordy Glenn, then had a generally praised performance in the draft starting with Billy Price and working their way through 11 picks.

Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's past sets up Bengals' future
Bill Lazor stood alone in an empty locker room. The Cincinnati Bengals were two days removed from a season-ending 27-10 victory over the Baltimore Ravens, but a 7-9 season. He just endured a lengthy press conference that introduced him as the team’s offensive coordinator, but the focus was on head coach Marvin Lewis.

AFC North Bytes

What to expect at the Ravens’ 2018 OTAs
The Baltimore Ravens are waking up this morning, heading to the team’s facility and getting on the field for really the first time this season. Monday marks the first day of OTAs for the Ravens. But in an offseason with acronyms and CBA rules, it’s not always easy to know exactly what’s going to be happening and what’s realistic to expect.

So here’s a quick primer on the OTAs, what’s allowed to happen and what that will mean for the team and any news we hear.

The Steelers are unveiling new throwback uniforms but what will the be?
I’m not going to lie—many things excite me. I have a natural enthusiasm for reboots. While many diehard fans are skeptical about CBS bringing back a refresh of Magnum PI, I rejoiced. Even though the updated version has a female Higgins and no Tom Selleck (or his ‘stache)....I can’t wait. I get excited over everything. The three things that I probably enjoy hearing the most are

Random Bytes

Odell Beckham continues to show up for work
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham‘s continued attendance at Giants workouts was #asexpected, and allows the team to think about the future of what could be a prolific offensive tandem. Via Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News, Beckham was back on hand for Giants OTAs today, giving him a chance to continue to work with rookie running back Saquon Barkley, as well as a chance for coach Pat Shurmur to continue building their relationship.

Deshaun Watson will participate in Texans OTAs this week
Deshaun Watson will get back on the field for the first time since tearing his ACL six months ago when the Houston Texans kick off the full team organized team activities, or OTAs, this week. Watson will work out in front of the coaches and go through some of the drills, though he will not run. Per the CBA, all of this phase of OTAs will be noncontact.

Report: 2019 NFL Draft 'Expected' to Be Hosted by Nashville
NFL owners are expected to name Nashville, Tennessee, the host city of the 2019 NFL draft during this week's meetings in Atlanta, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com. After being hosted in New York City from 1965 through 2014, the NFL has shifted gears. The event took place in Chicago in 2015 and 2016, Philadelphia in 2017 and Dallas in 2018.